Halloween is just around the corner, and with it comes a frenzy of unanswered questions revolving around holiday-themed parties. Do I need a costume? What should I go as? Do I need a date? What will it be like? We’ll answer some of these questions so the only thing you have to fear is the monsters of the night.
Should I EVEN go?
Don’t feel pressured to go to a party if you don’t want to go. It is not a mandatory morale day. For those of you who may want to attend a party but are a little bit nervous about going to a social gathering with traditional college students, take a chance. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you really do end up disliking it, you can always leave. This could be a great opportunity to meet new people and blow off some steam from school and work.
Costumes? What is this, 3rd grade?
Some collegiate Halloween parties may be costume parties. We recommend wearing a costume to a costume party. Even though it may seem silly, it will be far more awkward to be the one person at a costume party in regular clothes. There is no need to go extravagant; there are plenty of fun and easy costumes you can make or buy. We do recommend, however, refraining from going to a costume party as a soldier, sailor, Marine, etc. It is pretty unimaginative for a veteran or servicemember to do this, and the whole point is to do something different and fun. Some ideas for your costume include:
- Police Officer
Mission Impossible: Going to a party … stag
Going to a party without a date can be intimidating, but it is also a great way to meet someone new. Consider going with friends and try to avoid worrying about meeting a special someone. Remember that having fun will be the best way to succeed.
Drinking, drinking, and … maybe some other stuff
Dr. Eric Fretz, a retired Navy lieutenant commander, serves as a full-time lecturer at the University of Michigan. He holds doctorates in both psychology and education, and has over 20 years of experience in the military and education.
Dr. Fretz has some tips for managing your drinking at college parties.
“It’s important to remember that the pace and volume of drinking you may have done with your military buddies may be disturbing to college friends (or strangers). Binge drinking is a huge concern for campus administration, so make sure you are not “that guy.”
First tip: START FULL – eat before you go. You’ll feel full and there just won’t be enough room for an early overload. Don’t pre-game and show up to the party loaded; that’s just asking for drama.
Second tip: SLOW YOUR ROLL. For the first hour or two, stick with beer or weak mixed drinks, at most two per hour. Six Fireball shots in the first hour of the party is NOT a recipe for success, unless your definition of success involves apologizing to people the next day. Getting static to drink more? Fill (or dilute) your cup with water to stretch it out.
Third tip: CONTROL YOUR CUP. A lot of shenanigans occur when other people mix your drinks. A red solo cup can contain the equivalent of ONE drink or OVER 12 (for example, punch made with Everclear). Two cups of THAT and you are for sure on an “Independent Journey to Excellence.”
In the final analysis, being a drunken idiot makes the party less fun for everyone AND puts you (as a veteran) in a poor light. You have the edge in maturity and discipline, so leverage that to maximize your fun. When it comes to booze, try to focus on drinking “enough” as opposed to “more.” Go for “buzzed” rather than “buffoon.”
Besides drinking, remember that at college parties, there is also the possibility that some individuals may be using some form of illegal substance. The first thing to keep in mind is that if you are still a Reservist or Guard member, or even still in the IRR for that matter, you must stay away from any of these substances. A positive result on your drug tests can result in an immediate General Discharge. Understand that there is such a thing as “contact high”: You can pop positive after just being in a room with someone smoking marijuana.
The most important part of going to any party is to have a good time and be safe. Keep in mind that you are not at your unit anymore, where everyone has each others’ backs. Look out for yourself, keep contact with friends you can trust, and enjoy a night off from school and work.
Read more about military to civilian transition at GIJobs.com